Bill Belichick has no explanation for his failure to call a late timeout

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Last Monday night, Vic Fangio did his best impersonation of Bill Belichick in the closing moments of Super Bowl XLIX. It didn’t work.

On Sunday night, Belichick did his best impersonation of Fangio impersonating Belichick in the closing moments of Super Bowl XLIX. It too didn’t work.

With 36 seconds left in the early-season epic between the Patriots and Seahawks, New England had the ball 31 yards from paydirt and in turn from victory. Quarterback Cam Newton threw the ball to receiver Julian Edelman, who caught it as the Seattle 13. The clock showed 29 seconds when the play ended.

Because Edelman was ruled to have landed in bounds (he arguably didn’t), the clock kept ticking. And ticking. And ticking. From 29 seconds all the way to 13 seconds until the next snap. After the play — a throw to the end zone that went through the hands of Edelman — nine seconds remained.

The Patriots could have had first and 10 from the 13 with 29 seconds and no time outs. Instead, they had second and 10 from the 13 with nine seconds and one time out. Although the next play (a 12-yard pass) set the stage for a one-snap, all-or-nothing attempt to win the game, it’s hard not to wonder what would have happened if the Patriots had had more cracks at the end zone.

After the game, Belichick was asked about his decision not to call a timeout when the clock was turning with 29 seconds left.

“Seattle took a timeout,” Belichick said. “I mean, what are you talking about?”

But Seattle took the timeout after the incompletion with nine seconds left. When the reporter clarified the question to focus on the failure to call a timeout as 20 seconds eventually evaporated, Belichick offered a two-word answer.

“Yeah, well.”

That answer was followed by 22 seconds of silence (there was a stray harumph along the way), before Patriots P.R. director Stacey James called for the next question.

Because the Patriots eventually had a chance to win the game with a final play from the Seattle one, the decision to not call the timeout will draw less attention than it would have. Because Bill Belichick is the coach who failed to call the timeout, the decision to not call the timeout undoubtedly will draw less criticism and scrutiny.

Imagine the reaction if someone not regarded as the greatest coach of all time had done something like this. Imagine the reaction if someone not regarded as the greatest coach of all time explained the failure to call timeout with 22 seconds of saying nothing other than, “Yeah, well.”

It’s impossible to know whether using the timeout would have resulted in a win. However, most coaches would gladly take first and 10 from the 13 with 29 seconds on the clock and no timeouts over first and 10 from the 13 with nine seconds and one timeout. Belichick could have had the former, he settled for the latter, and the fact that all he could say in response was “yeah, well” is the closest he’ll ever come to admitting a mistake.

31 responses to “Bill Belichick has no explanation for his failure to call a late timeout

  1. “Oh those Pats, they’re not the same anymore! Belichick is washed up! Can’t win without cheating anymore!”

    It took FIVE touchdown passes and a last minute play to beat them. They’re STILL a playoff team.

    Signed,
    Cardinals fan.

  2. I don’t see the connection. If NE had executed better, someone did a better job not letting Collier penetrate, this isn’t even a topic.

    Questionable, safe play call, but who BB had on who in man coverage is what I woulld be quibbling with.

    Both qbs played very well and Seattle was outplayed in the last portion of the 4th.

    Non story here.

  3. Yeah well. Belichick is 68 years old now. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that these types of mental mistakes will begin to become common place.

  4. Not calling timeouts isn’t the reason the Pats lost. Wilson is a machine he will keep lighting you up. Pats defense faced the best all around talent qb in the NFL today. They face Derek Carr and the Raiders next week who won’t be nearly as difficult.

  5. You really have to appreciate Bilicheck. He doesn’t Give a ratsA what type of sound bite the reports so desperately want. I enjoy more and more listening to his responses.

  6. Monday Morning quarterbacking at its best… Talking heads will question these decisions which ever way they are made. Fact is, they had the ball on the one with a great chance to win and they got stopped…. tip your cap to Seattle and move on

  7. anybody else would have caved and added something else to their comment, and then probably regretted it later. BB just stared them down to see who had the guts to ask the next question. Nobody did.

    The moment BB starts second guessing himself based on questions from reporters will be the moment BB is just another coach.

  8. The only reason he’s considered the greatest coach of all time is because he had the greatest quarterback of all time. Bill is being exposed and he obviously doesn’t like it. “Don’t you dare question me!” I see more of this going forward and things will go sour quickly.

  9. I wondered about not calling a timeout… but then when they get tackled at the 1 yd line.. they needed it.. so, kind of a non issue..

  10. BB blew that one. At that point the extra time means more than the timeout. The only way not using the TO makes sense is if a FG ties it. Save the TO to let the clock run down so they’re kicking it with no time remaining while also not having to rush the FG unit onto the field. But they needed a TD so the extra time would have given them at least 1 more play.

  11. He was too busy trying to figure out how Pete Carroll was excluded from the stupid rule coaches gotta wear masks.

  12. No question BB screwed up and it’s a story because normally he is on top of those situations. It took way too long to get lined up and run the next play. He knows he did and tried to deflect by using another play that wasn’t relevant to the situation. When the reporter had the nogs to call him on it he has his two word Condescending Answer with 22 seconds of silence. I applaud that reporter cause he was right. It was mm qb’ing but it still needed to be addressed. It also limited them at least one maybe two extra plays in the end zone. It was a great game and BB is and the gang is still working out the kinks with the new qb. Russell Wilson is correct, he’s the best qb in the world right now.

  13. BB cost his team the game here, both by botching the timeout and the completely idiotic playcall at the end. Wow.

  14. Everyone in the America knew Cam would try and run that ball in with seconds left on the clock!! Seattle was prepared for that! BB should know better!

  15. touchback6 says:

    September 21, 2020 at 10:19 am

    I don’t see the connection. If NE had executed better, someone did a better job not letting Collier penetrate, this isn’t even a topic.

    Questionable, safe play call, but who BB had on who in man coverage is what I woulld be quibbling with.

    Both qbs played very well and Seattle was outplayed in the last portion of the 4th.

    Non story here.
    ———
    Its ok your a new england homer so it’s understandable why your blind to an obvious connection. You could say if “so and so would have executed better” about every single play in any game from any side or any coach. It doesnt negate the fact that it was still a mistake by Belichick…if a qb throws 5 int but has a chance at the end to win and someone gets beat are we not going to say those 5 picks were a mistake? This is no different. Yes it’s true they had a chance at the end to win but what’s also true is if they called a timeout they would have had a better chance to win.

  16. But when he didn’t call a TO against the Seahawks in the SB that worked out well.You wannabe coaches be quiet.

  17. The Patriots could easily have won the game on the last play. The team had the ball on the 2 yard line. If the play succeeds, Belichick made the right call. The play failed so Belichick made all the wrong calls? I’m sorry. It just takes no brains to play Monday Morning QB. I’ll leave that to others.

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